Recently, I wrote that I’m working on a new singer-songwriter project after a few years away from traditonal songwriting. Well, one thing leads to another. My songwriting project has led me to revisit some old songs that I co-wrote with my late friend Steve Graham between 1991 and 2003. So along with my new songwriting project, I have a side project. I’ll be reworking the songs from the Erickson & Graham Song Collection.
This idea came to me when I discovered two verses that Steve and I had written that had never become part of a completed song. Steve died a few years ago and I thought it would be the honorable thing to do to turn those two verses into a song.
So, Steve, we’ve written another one, buddy. It was your title and idea: “Coat Tree Memories.” I added another verse or two and some simple music, and presto, the old magic.
After completing “Coat Tree Memories,” I decided to go back into my old songbooks and find every song that Steve and I co-wrote. There are 33 unique titles. Some of those tunes are still in my head as if it was yesterday. Others, however, have slipped away, and unfortunately I don’t have audio recordings, or even chord charts for many of them. But that’s okay.
Here’s what I’m going to do as a longterm musical side project. I’m going to rework the entire Erickson & Graham collection. Back when many of our best songs were written, I was still a beginning guitarist. Now I have another 10-20 years of playing under my belt. I’ve also become a better arranger. I’ve already spent a few hours on the first couple of songs from the collection.
Steve was almost 20 years my senior. He took songwriting lessons from an old-school songwriter who taught him writing styles from the 1940s and 50s, the standards. When I was younger, I didn’t always appreciate that influence. But time has proven the Erickson & Graham songs to be some of the best songs I’ve been a part of writing. It will be an honor to make them shine a little brighter. – dse
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